I am a better investor because I am a businessman, and I am a better businessman because I am an investor
— Warren Buffett
This book―winner of a 2014 Axiom Business Book award gold medal―begins with the unbroken string of successes that helped Paul achieve a jet-setting lifestyle and land a key spot with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. It then describes the circumstances leading up to Paul’s $1.6 million loss and the essential lessons he learned from it―primarily that, although there are as many ways to make money in the markets as there are people participating in them, all losses come from the same few sources.
Investors lose money in the markets either because of errors in their analysis or because of psychological barriers preventing the application of analysis. While all analytical methods have some validity and make allowances for instances in which they do not work, psychological factors can keep an investor in a losing position, causing him to abandon one method for another in order to rationalize the decisions already made. Paul and Moynihan’s cautionary tale includes strategies for avoiding loss tied to a simple framework for understanding, accepting, and dodging the dangers of investing, trading, and speculating.
In Principles, Dalio shares what he’s learned over the course of his remarkable career. He argues that life, management, economics, and investing can all be systemized into rules and understood like machines. The book’s hundreds of practical lessons, which are built around his cornerstones of “radical truth” and “radical transparency,” include Dalio laying out the most effective ways for individuals and organizations to make decisions, approach challenges, and build strong teams. He also describes the innovative tools the firm uses to bring an idea meritocracy to life, such as creating “baseball cards” for all employees that distill their strengths and weaknesses, and employing computerized decision-making systems to make believability-weighted decisions. While the book brims with novel ideas for organizations and institutions, Principles also offers a clear, straightforward approach to decision-making that Dalio believes anyone can apply, no matter what they’re seeking to achieve.
Here, from a man who has been called both “the Steve Jobs of investing” and “the philosopher king of the financial universe” (CIO magazine), is a rare opportunity to gain proven advice unlike anything you’ll find in the conventional business press.
Double Your Profits: In Six Months or Less by Bob Fifer
This book is one Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, recommended to a class of summer interns. It’s also required reading by 3G capital. A list of 78 areas to aggressively cut, improve productivity and increase sales.
Some of the ideas are now outdated. However, the main tenet of the book remains a required focus in today’s hyper-competitive environment. Average is Over, as Tyler Cowen titled his book. Aggressive cost-cutting establishes a workplace focused on creating value without the unnecessary frills. Today’s companies compete at the 1%–and it’s winner take all in most markets. Cutting costs in every department–even by 1%–compounds the value creation. It also allows the advantages to accumulate and build out an economic moat.
Chris Zook and James Allen show that a renewed focus on the core is more critical than ever as firms seek to rebuild their competitive advantage coming out of the downturn—and that a strong core will be the foundation for successful expansion as the economy recovers. Based on more than ten years of Bain & Company research and analysis and fresh examples from firms responding to the current downturn, the book outlines what today’s executives and managers need to do now to revitalize their core, identify the next wave of profitable growth, and build on it successfully.
As the book Buffett autographs most, its popularity and longevity attest to the widespread appetite for this unique compilation of Buffett’s thoughts that is at once comprehensive, non-repetitive, and digestible. New and experienced readers alike will gain an invaluable informal education by perusing this classic arrangement of Warren’s best writings.The fourth edition’s new material includes:Warren’s 50th anniversary retrospective, in what Bill Gates called Warren’s best letter ever, on conglomerates and Berkshire’s future without Buffett;Charlie Munger’s 50th anniversary essay on ”The Berkshire System”;Warren’s definitive defense of Berkshire’s no-dividend practice; andWarren’s best advice on investing, whether in apartments, farms, or businesses.
Offering invaluable tools to better understand the concepts of choice and risk, More Than You Know is a unique blend of practical advice and sound theory, sampling from a wide variety of sources and disciplines. Mauboussin builds on the ideas of visionaries, including Warren Buffett and E. O. Wilson, but also finds wisdom in a broad and deep range of fields, such as casino gambling, horse racing, psychology, and evolutionary biology. He analyzes the strategies of poker experts David Sklansky and Puggy Pearson and pinpoints parallels between mate selection in guppies and stock market booms. For this edition, Mauboussin includes fresh thoughts on human cognition, management assessment, game theory, the role of intuition, and the mechanisms driving the market’s mood swings, and explains what these topics tell us about smart investing.
The Misbehavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Financial Turbulence by Benoit Mandelbrot & Richard L. Hudson
“Mathematical superstar and inventor of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot, has spent the past forty years studying the underlying mathematics of space and natural patterns. What many of his followers don’t realize is that he has also been watching patterns of market change. In The (Mis)Behavior of Markets, Mandelbrot joins with science journalist and former Wall Street Journal editor Richard L. Hudson to reveal what a fractal view of the world of finance looks like. The result is a revolutionary reevaluation of the standard tools and models of modern financial theory. Markets, we learn, are far riskier than we have wanted to believe. From the gyrations of IBM’s stock price and the Dow, to cotton trading, and the dollar-Euro exchange rate–Mandelbrot shows that the world of finance can be understood in more accurate, and volatile, terms than the tired theories of yesteryear. The ability to simplify the complex has made Mandelbrot one of the century’s most influential mathematicians. With The (Mis)Behavior of Markets, he puts the tools of higher mathematics into the hands of every person involved with markets, from financial analysts to economists to 401(k) holders. Markets will never be seen as “safe bets” again.”
Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter L. Bernstein
“With his wonderful knowledge of the history and current manifestations of risk, Peter Bernstein brings us Against the Gods. Nothing like it will come out of the financial world this year or ever. I speak carefully: no one should miss it.” -John Kenneth Galbraith Professor of Economics Emeritus, Harvard University
In this unique exploration of the role of risk in our society, Peter Bernstein argues that the notion of bringing risk under control is one of the central ideas that distinguishes modern times from the distant past. Against the Gods chronicles the remarkable intellectual adventure that liberated humanity from oracles and soothsayers by means of the powerful tools of risk management that are available to us today.
King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall, and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone by David Carey & John E. Morris
“In King of Capital, David Carey and John Morris show how Blackstone (and other private equity firms) transformed themselves from gamblers, hostile-takeover artists, and ‘barbarians at the gate’ into disciplined, risk-conscious investors. King of Capital shows how Blackstone and private equity will drive the economy and provide a model for how financing will work in the years to come.”
Some of the best thought exercises include asking yourself if Blackstone bought your company tomorrow, how would the PE firm restructure, re-engineer, and reorganize your company for higher profits?
Investing: The Last Liberal Art by Robert Hagstrom
“Hagstrom explores basic and fundamental investing concepts in a range of fields outside of economics, including physics, biology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and literature. He discusses, for instance, how the theory of evolution disrupts the notion of the efficient market and how reading strategies for literature can be gainfully applied to investing research.
Building on Charlie Munger’s famous “latticework of mental models” concept, Hagstrom argues that it is impossible to make good investment decisions based solely on a strong knowledge of finance theory alone.”
The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success by William N. Thorndike
What makes a successful CEO? Most people call to mind a familiar definition: “a seasoned manager with deep industry expertise.” Others might point to the qualities of today’s so-called celebrity CEOs—charisma, virtuoso communication skills, and a confident management style. But what really matters when you run an organization? What is the hallmark of exceptional CEO performance? Quite simply, it is the returns for the shareholders of that company over the long term.
In this refreshing, counterintuitive book, author Will Thorndike brings to bear the analytical wisdom of a successful career in investing, closely evaluating the performance of companies and their leaders. You will meet eight individualistic CEOs whose firms’ average returns outperformed the S&P 500 by a factor of twenty—in other words, an investment of $10,000 with each of these CEOs, on average, would have been worth over $1.5 million twenty-five years later. You may not know all their names, but you will recognize their companies: General Cinema, Ralston Purina, The Washington Post Company, Berkshire Hathaway, General Dynamics, Capital Cities Broadcasting, TCI, and Teledyne. In The Outsiders, you’ll learn the traits and methods—striking for their consistency and relentless rationality—that helped these unique leaders achieve such exceptional performance.
This is part of a Real World MBA curriculum. Other parts of the curriculum include Management, Decision Making, Startups, Execution, Career Success, Strategy, Dealing with People, Communicating, Ethics, Biographies and Marketing.